We Departed Chicago around Midnight for St. Louis. I tried to sleep on the bus, a technique I have almost perfected due to my massive amounts of public transportation use. But on this trip, I was unable to force my body into a sleepy slumber. Prior to departure, I was working one of my side construction jobs out west and didn’t get back until 10:00pm. I had to eat real fast, slammed a beer, and walked to the bus stop, all in hopes that all this might calm me down and make me drowsy…didn’t work.
We got to St Louis a little earlier than planned, 4:45am to be exact. Just when I was starting to get comfy and falling into a sleepy state, We got to the St. Louis train station. I was told about the train station prior to arrival but the doors were locked and we were stuck outside until a nice security guard let us in around 5:15. We proceded to walk around the station. Aside from the few other passengers, we had the station all to our selves. It really was a beautiful space. As you walk around there are historical spaces dedicated to preserving the history of the old depot with artifacts, photographs and literature. The most impressive room is the Main room for the hotel. Its as grand a room as I have seen in any building before. The whispering arch is an amazing architectural addition to the space also. A must if you visit the city. We had the benefit of a very quiet 6am crowd so we had the arch all to our selves. The audio illusion was very surreal.
We decided to leave the train station and start making our way toward the arch. The sun was on its way up and I really wanted to see the sunrise over the arch. Walking down MAIN STREET? We were greeted with a line of public parks that housed various sculptures and installations. The buildings that flanked the sides of the park were very impressive and I was very surprised how beautiful the city was. I looked up Breakfast ion my iphone and was lead to ChiliMacs diner. With its location around the corner from the arch, it was the perfect place to go and eat. After some eggs, hash, sausage, a short stack of pancakes and lots of coffee. We were off to the Arch.
We walked a few blocks and crossed the highway, which has a very narrow comfort zone between you and the passing cars, and were greeted by the massive arch. I was blown away by the monument. It is such a thing of beauty and a real treat to see it with westward sun. Coming from cold Chicago we decided to sit on the steps facing the Mississippi river and take in some rays as we gazed up at the arc where we soon would be. I laid there thinking I will soon be up there looking out the window at the west expanse beyond that the arch stands for. My mind went afloat as the sun drenched my cold body and warmed me into a cozy little state of unconsciousness and I slept on the steps of the arch for almost half an hour. What a site to wake up to, this grand proud arch.
It started to warm up and the jacket came off. We walked into the building, past a security checkpoint then over to the bathroom for a quick tooth brushing. Bought our tickets, walked by the information displays, and made our way to the elevators. I read about the pods that take you to the top of the arch but nothing can prepare you for the actual experience of taking one of these. As the lady who guided us to pod #4 said, “get ready for a trip back to the 60’s.” It was pretty awesome to sit in these JFK era inspired designs. Glad they didn’t gut them out for some new ugly replacement because its more practical or comfortable. Its all about the experience. We got to the top and I was surprised how small it was and how small the windows were. The views were amazing and I got an odd kick out of leaning on the ledge and getting the feeling of looking down directly underneath me and seeing both legs of the arch. I took my photographs, lingered at the windows for a bit, maybe an hour and we were off on our way back down. Pod #4 was our pod again on our return trip down. We walked around the lobby for a bit. Checked out the exhibit of early American and Indian history that was in the exhibition space. Then left for outside and the anticipated warm day ahead.
Well, It was gorgeous out. We walked the river from one end of the park to the other. Talked to some boat guy who was fishing for guys that might fall off the bridge. Walked back up into the park and decided to sit at a bench for a minute that turned into an hour. People were in shorts and t-shirts, and everybody seemed really happy. We asked if this is normal weather for this time of year, her response “no.” It was 66 degrees. Back in Chicago it was 36. I laid on the bench and just gazed at the arch and watched the shadows move on the surface and ground as the sun moved through the sky. Such a beautiful day.
It was 4:00 and we had to start making our way back to the train station. We said our goodbyes to the arch, snapped a few more pics then it became a backdrop to the city. We stopped by the beautiful courthouse on the way back. Walked up WASHINGTON? Street, which has amazing early 20th century high-rise buildings throughout most of the downtown area. Got back to the park area, took a picture of my red wings nemesis Blues flag to send to my brother and hurried to to train station to use the bathroom. We got on board the bus, but was warned that one of the hydraulic lines are broke and the bus cant drive without it being replaced. Oh no. we still got on board and took our seats but I was skeptical we would be leaving any time soon. My knee was acting up so it felt good to sit, and then eventually fall asleep and two hours later, we were given notice that we would be departing in 5 minutes. Aside from the bus malfunction, thank you mega bus for you February promotion ticket give away.
St. Lewis Journey 1
Reservation for 1 passenger
Price paid: $0.00
Tue Feb 15, 2011
Depart Chicago, Union Station S Canal St south of Jackson Blvd. at February 15, 2011 11:55 PM arrive St Louis, Union Station at February 16, 2011 5:25 AM
Depart St. Lewis Journey 2
Reservation for 1 passenger
Price paid: $0.00
Wed Feb 16, 2011
Depart St Louis, Union Station at February 16, 2011 4:35 PM arrive Chicago, Union Station S Canal St south of Jackson Blvd. at February 16, 2011 9:40 PM